Delivering one of the most decadent aural assaults of the year, today we have super group Gravetemple and their sophomore full-length release “Impassable Fears”. Featuring luminaries like Stephen O’Malley, Oren Ambarchi, Attila Csihar, and Matt Sanders, this super-band’s experimental Drone/Doom will leave your ears ringing and claiming for more. Filled with punishing riffs, trippy Drone elements and completely haunting vocals, this release will certainly catch you by surprise.
Opening with the track “A Szarka”, the band sets a very dissonant mood with funky percussions and heavily distorted guitars leading the way for Attila’s sickening vocals. Thing continue on a downward spiral as the superbly creepy “Elavúlt Földbolygó” arrives with its Event Horizon-like vocals and a very unsettling pace. Brilliantly crafting at atmosphere of anxiety and discomfort, in two tracks, Gravetemple has full control of the listener’s psyche.
Arriving via Godz ov War Productions, today we have France’s Autokrator and their devastating and brutal mix of Death/Doom elements with heavy Drone influences. Easily as one of the most oppressive and aurally disturbing releases of 2016, the band delivers 36 minutes of pure madness that will take you to the edge of sanity.
Delivering the first punch with “Chapter I’, the band opens with a disturbing audio clip that is closely followed by hellish growls and their crushing drumming. This duo does a great job in crafting a massive wall of sound that is only disturbed by the deep growls. The sheer brutality continues with the intricate “Chapter II” and the demolishing “Chapter IV”. In both tracks we noticed the mixture of influences from outfits like Autor & Punisher and the all mighty Anaal Nathrakh, but taken to the extreme.
As one of the most unique and odd bands of North America, The Body has made a name for itself by doing tons of unique collaboration while refining a punishing experimental Sludge/Drone sound. On their fifith full-length release “No One Deserves Happiness”, the band continues to push the boundaries of normal and delivers what they call “the grossest pop album ever”. After listening for multiple days we have to completely agree with their claim, as this is one nightmarish release that will puzzle the masses and hypnotize the illuminated ones.
Opening with the haunting “Wanderings” we get some fragile female vocals nicely contrasted by some Sludgy dissonant riffs and a very unnerving tempo. As soon as the harsh vocals come into the picture the album gets even weirder with such an extreme contrast… signature move of the band. After a little breather with the weird “Shelter is Illusory”, the band delivers a violent Drone/Noise pair of tracks with “For You” and “Hallow/Hollow” that will rattle anybody out of their seat.
Featuring over 30 musicians ranging from members of Yakuza to The Body, Wreckmester Harmonies is the brainchild of J.R. Robinson. Mixing elements of Drone, Doom, Post-Metal, and ambient into one very dense wall of sound, the collective creates haunting music that goes beyond just making crushing and punishing tracks. In this release we are presented with two monumental tracks that combined clock in around 48 minutes of sheer darkness and emotion.
Leading the charge we have the opening 32-minute behemoth “Night of Your Ascension” which starts in a very ethereal way. The bone-chilling female angelic voices slowly lead into compelling string instrument arrangements just before it all turns completely somber with some punishing Doom riffs. This transition is handled in a very masterful way, as the tension is slowly rising. The heavier side of this track is filled with punishing riffs and some hellish screams that create a sense of urgency due to their aggressive nature.
Finally reaching a wider audience, today we have Old Witch and their chilling debut full-length “Come Mourning Come”, re-released on Sun & Moon Records. With 36 minutes of aural savagery, this American band manages to release a highly dissonant and punishing release that will appeal to all fans of the intersection between Black/ Doom Metal / Noise / Drone.
The album opens with the throbbing “Funeral Rain” and its thick droning sounds and hellish atmospheric keyboards. Like something straight out of the movie “Event Horizon”, this song sets a very sinister mood for the rest of the album. The band spares no expense and creates a truly bizarre and sickening atmosphere with “This Land Has Been Cursed” and “God ov Wolves”, expertly continuing their decadent musical spew through nearly the first half of this release.
Arriving from Italy, today we have a very odd and beautifully disturbing release titled “The Dross Play Vol.1” by Culls. In this five-song release, we get a very interesting mixture of ambient and noise with a few hints of drone elements. While most releases of this genre drag songs along for 10-20 minutes, Culls delivers short and concise assaults that will elevate your conscious levels to new heights.
Opening with the incisive “Scott 1912”, the dissonant noise elements perfectly blend with the trippy atmospherics and the spoken word samples to create a very tense and chaotic feeling. With a very apt title, “Spiral Staircase” delivers a very hypnotic droning dirge that feels like walking on an endless staircase. Quite interesting indeed how Culls, manipulates their elements to create very unique and engaging soundscapes.
Filed under the category of unsettling and weird, today we have Kajkyt and his latest release titled “II”. Featuring eight tracks of very unique and different compositions, Kajkyt dwells in the lands of Dark-Ambient / Drone with a very mellow mood and some trippy elements. Clearly not for everybody, this release is better enjoyed on a dark room in a cold night to fully get the very minimalistic effect being transmitted in these eight tracks.
Delivering a powerful opener track titled “I”, Kajkyt delivers distorted bass with simplistic electronics alongside some drones. Once the sorrowful clean vocals start leading the song, we are instantly hooked on the premise of the album, and eagerly awaiting for what is next to come. “II” is the longest song of the album and the whole atmosphere slows down considerably for some Noise elements to shine with a very ritualistic and minimalistic backdrop.
Extremely productive one-man project Frozen Ocean delivers their one of their four full-length releases of 2011 with the transcendental “Oneiric In Geocentrism”. Featuring over 65 minutes of nightmare-inducing Dark Ambient/Drone music, this release feels like a journey through space. While we are bigger fans of Frozen Ocean’s Atmospheric Black Metal, this album delivers a similar vibe that will send chills down your spine.
Setting off with “The Striding Watchtower”, the mood is very mystic and ethereal allowing the listener to fully immerse into Frozen Ocean’s world. Our sidereal journey continues with the tense “A Chink in Coelosphere” and “Levitation”, two tracks that clock in around 24 minutes of intense atmospheric brilliance. On a lighter note, “Quiver in the Voidrift” releases some of the tension initially, but keeps the album’s flow going very steady.
Limited to a short run of 62 CD-R copies, Frozen Ocean presents us with their 2009 EP titled: “Steamworks: Hibernation”. With a behemoth 30+ minutes song, this release is a good stepping stone into understanding the band’s evolution and how Vaarwel’s skills have been changing over time. With a constant stream of releases Frozen Ocean is one of the most active bands we have heard of, so it is nice to hear a bit more from their musical origins.
Immediately starting with some droning percussions, the album has that unsettling vibe with a martial touch to it. The atmosphere is quite heavy and tense as it slowly builds up. The ritualistic percussions are quite interesting and give it a different vibe to what we have heard in the past from Frozen Ocean. As the song mellows out around the 20th minute, some of the tension gets released and we can finally move over from the edge of our seat.